Beauty of track inspires poem

Train operator Northern launched its partnership with Manchester Literature Festival (MLF) with a Poetry Train from Manchester to Hebden Bridge.

Award-winning poet Helen Mort gave the first reading of her poem, commissioned by the organisations, to invited guests and passengers.

The Manchester-Hebden Bridge train journey inspired the new poem.

The poem, There and Back, has verses about each of the places on the route and is now on display at Manchester Victoria Station. Relevant verses from the poem are on display at all the stations on the route.

At Hebden Bridge, guests were taken on a literary tour of the area, home and an inspiration to several literary figures including Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.

Northern’s Regional Director, Liam Sumpter said: “We’re delighted to have teamed up with Manchester Literature Festival to celebrate the rich literary heritage of the north.

“The partnership will see us working together to showcase the north and bring to life the work of talented writers from the region. People come from across the north to attend the many different events which form this hugely successful Festival and Northern plays a key role getting them there, so we’re delighted to be taking part in this year’s programme.

“A big part of our marketing is celebrating everything the north has to offer and the Manchester Literature Festival is a great example of this.”

Cathy Bolton from Manchester Literature Festival said: “Now in its 13th year, MLF brings the world’s leading authors to Manchester, providing an opportunity for people to meet their literary heroes and discover new ones.

“With many of our guests travelling to events by rail we are delighted to be working with Northern on this exciting project, celebrating the landscapes of Manchester and the Calder Valley.

“Helen (Mort) writes beautifully about a place, and for this commission she spent time travelling back and forth on the Manchester to Halifax route, climbing on and off the train, observing the changing environment and landscape from Victoria, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge to the ‘sandpaper platform’ at Mills Hill.”

Visit for more details about the festival.